Strictly Discs

November 14, 2019

A cool week of new releases commences with the first proper studio album from BONNIE PRINCE BILLY in many years, after quite a few reissues, cover albums, collaborations, and whatnot. 'I Made A Place' is one of the more grounded records I've heard from Will Oldham under any of his guises; you get the sense that he's responding to the country's political and cultural turmoil in his own way (and it's hard to shake the image of Stable Will comforting his flock in the wake of the tragic passing of his friend David Berman). The songs on this album are more or less in a straight bluegrass mode, with a band that includes the cask-aged voice of Joan Shelley, plus ample banjo, horns, and fiddle. Where past albums have dwelt on topics like sex and death and whatever happens in between, here BPB has a renewed focus on faith (in what, I can't say), resilience, and simplicity, while still taking time for whatever mild psychedelics allow him to write a song about "the eye of the squid". A few years back, we were blessed with an incredible album of unheard 1970s gamelan from DANIEL SCHMIDT, a largely overlooked California artist in the instrument-building tradition of pioneers like Harry Partch and Lou Harrison. That was easily one of the most beautiful albums we'd ever heard, and now the Recital label carries Schmidt's story onward into the 1980s with another record of unheard material called 'Abies Firma'. In this period, Schmidt began experimenting with his own song structures outside of the traditional scales of Javanese gamelan, and the results are just as startling as his earlier material, although much more varied. Working alongside his mentor Harrison, utilizing Frippertronics-style tape loops, and reflecting upon changes in his life after becoming a father, Schmidt crafted sound at a wondrous fringe that still feels untrodden in the present day. This is quite an edition here, with the LP augmented by an extensive booklet of essays and photos, and a CD that includes an even longer version of the album. 

Lucky us (and you), this week brings reissues of two of the most requested LPs at Strictly Discs in the last several years. In 1999, DR. DRE re-introduced himself to the scene he'd helped create with his ferocious sophomore album '2001', in which he aimed to top his classic debut, both in vulgar, quotable bravado and ear-throttling production magic. For reasons unknown to us, this album has remained out of print on LP for close to two decades, a mighty long time in terms of the staying power of a rap album (or any album). Well, wait no longer, the next episode is back. And if the bravado is too much for you (and honestly, going back through these songs was more than a little eye-opening), there's also a new pressing of the album's instrumentals, which gives you the opportunity to really appreciate the Dr. in peak form behind the boards. Before he was known beyond tight-knit Chicago jazz circles, MAKAYA MCCRAVEN released a live album called 'In The Moment' which, true to its title, seemed like a very momentary thing. By the time we'd caught wind of this incredible new force in jazz, the record was out of print. The International Anthem label rewards us this week with an expanded reissue, combining the original double LP with a 3rd disc of bonus material, all pressed on a nice copper-colored vinyl. 

The iconic UK electronic label Warp turns 30 years old this year, and has been celebrating accordingly with all kinds of special presentations of their legendary roster. This week, they dole out a whopping ten EPs from some of the biggest acts across the history of the label, all culled from Peel Sessions and other radio shows. While they last, we have them all in the house. That's records from FLYING LOTUS, BOARDS OF CANADA, LFO, SEEFEEL, APHEX TWIN, PLAID, KELLY MORAN, BIBIO, and ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER. Not a bad hand!

NYC party art-punks GUERILLA TOSS have a fully re-energized new album called 'What Would the Odd Do?', and we have a long-awaited new record from UK pop sculptor ANNA MEREDITH called 'Fibs'. Melodic mope-rock lifers TINDERSTICKS return with a lovely new album called 'No Treasure But Hope', in the house on CD and limited edition LP. A curious pairing of the Serbian electronic duo TAPAN and nomadic Tuareg group GENERATION TARAGALTE really pays off with a mini album called 'Atlas', where the musicians find a delirious, propulsive middle ground between their disparate traditions. 

A long time ago, in a galaxy several time zones away, and while Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were still underclassmen at San Jose State University, a British blues band formed by the name of FLEETWOOD MAC. Led by guitar prodigy Peter Green, this version of the Mac released a handful of albums and compilations, including the classic 'Then Play On', and met its swift demise shortly after Green lost control of his dependence on LSD. With all due respect to the later iterations of the Mac, this was quite a fertile period for a young band experimenting with blues and rock traditions, and now we get a deeper dive into that era with a new 3 disc set of demos and live material called 'Before the Beginning'. THE BAND's self-titled debut album turns 50 this year, and now we get a new version of it with a full remix and remaster. The 2 CD version includes their full set at Woodstock, and the vinyl edition has been pressed at 45 RPM for the audiophiles for the first time ever. We've also got a new live LP from JAMES BROWN, and a full-on super deluxe edition of the ROLLING STONES' 'Let It Bleed' with all the trimmings. Santa alert!

More reprints and new editions are here including TURBONEGRO's 'Apocalypse Dudes', ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN's complete Peel Sessions on vinyl, MOGWAI's 1997 LP 'Ten Rapid', which collects some of their earliest, most tender material, and a new pressing of EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL's 1996 album 'Walking Wounded'.

A quartet of compilations covers just about every available mood and groove from the dance world. JUNGLE's edition of the 'Back to Mine' series showcases their fave downtempo tracks from names like Mocky, Mansur Brown, BadBadNotGood, and KAMAAL WILLIAMS, who also happens to be the host selector for the latest in the 'DJ Kicks' series, where he presents a wild array of jazz, house, and jazzy house. The KOMPAKT label's 'Pop Ambient' series has been delivering the goods since the turn of the century and now bring us this year's installment, which features tunes from label legends like Markus Guentner, Jorg Burger, and T. Raumschmiere. The GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL label is also celebrating some decades in the game, and a new label comp called 'Thousands of Eyes in the Dark' features an impressive roster of lowkey brilliant ambient artists from points everywhere, such as The Sight Below, Suzanne Kraft, Emily Sprague, and Khotin.

The Analog Africa label returns from a brief hiatus with another sure shot, this time culling 1970s tunes from the northern Brazilian state of Para for a new set called JAMBU. In urban areas flanked by the Amazon, musical forms from as far away as Benin, Cuba and the Dominican Republic intermingled, creating a hypnotic, insistent blend of Afro-Brazilian music utterly unique to one city. After dozens of compilations like this, the AA label has a hard-won trust, and they don't disappoint on this one. We've got a fresh repress of a bubbling zouk-fusion delight from FRANCK VALMONT et SYNCRO. Ghanaian high-life legend GYEDU-BLAY AMBOLLEY is still blowing his horn at 72, and brings us a spectacular new album celebrating his birthplace. The modestly titled 'Armenian Pop Music' LP from HAMLET MINASSIAN actually contains some of the most mind-melting discoid funk from any continent ever.

New hip-hop CDs are here from some of the biggest names in the game. Check out 'Woptober II' from GUCCI MANE, a surprise return from GANG STARR, and the latest from SNOOP DOGG, 'I Wanna Thank Me'. You're welcome.

New jazz CDs are here from STEVE LACY and the MAT MANERI QUARTET, and we have the delectable soundtrack for 'Far From the Apple Tree' composed by neofolk queen ROSE MCDOWALL. Sound artist YANN NOVAK lived here in Madison in the 1990s, and his latest release for the Room40 label, 'Slowly Dismantling' reflects on his time here as a queer youth, and it's cover depicts the remnants of the Hotel Washington after it burned down in in 1996.

Some truly glorious entries from the disparate realms of rhythmic ambient, art-pop, and synthwave roll in this week, starting with the 1990 album 'Ecophony Gaia' from the group GEINOH YAMASHIROGUMI, best known for their soundtrack for the film 'Akira'. Belgian artpunk JAN VAN DEN BROEKE formed a number of brief new wave groups, the best tracks of which appear on Stroom's compilation '11000 Dreams', a wonderful collection of drifting, dreaming songs that find a middle ground between gentle boogie and elegant repose. Same goes for 'Marea/Tide' a Music From Memory reissue of a hyper-rare art record from the Italian duo RUINS In 1984, Ljubljana new wave group VIDEOSEX risked more than most bands of the time did, making a truly provocative piece of gender and sexuality-bending new wave in post-Tito Yugoslavia that has attained cult status amongst headier European collectors. 

Crispy new Blue Note pressings are in for HORACE SILVER's 'Doin the Thing', GRANT GREEN's 'Alive!', and a pair of ART BLAKEY's 'Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World', volumes one and two.

CHRISTOPHER WILLITS + RYUICHI SAKAMOTO's 2012 collaboration 'Ancient Future' gets a fresh repress on vinyl, and we have a new LP of de-/re-constructed violoncello music from LORI GOLDSTON. UK ambient musicians JONNY NASH (of Gaussian Curve) and KYLE MARTIN reunite as LAND OF LIGHT for a wondrously crafted new exploration of space. 

Effervescent and mischievous house is here from Canadian producer REGULARFANTASY, your last chance at grabbing one of the 'Welcome to Paradise' compilations of rare Italian 'dream house' curated by YOUNG MARCO is now here, and we have a stellar new double album of drifting, amniotic techno from DJ Sports under a new alias, MEDIATED AMBIENCE.


Down the stairs we go for this week's edition of the Used Vinyl Alert, where the new arrivals bin (LP & 7") is chock full of rare and obscure post-punk and new wave, classic hip-hop, disco and soul, and much more.

In addition to rare and collectible Beatles, Grateful Dead, Kinks, Captain Beefheart, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Tim Buckley, and Frank Zappa, we see some crucial LPs from Crazy Horse, John Prine, Alexis Korner, Caravan, and the Nice. Metal is in from a host of obscure one-offs, as well as bigger names like Black Sabbath, Dio, Great White, Guns n Roses, and Suicidal Tendencies.

A deep and beguiling spread of lesser known 80s indie rock and new wave comes through from too many names to list, including The Weeds, Hollywood Autopsy, Bruce Joyner, One Plus Two, Scruffy the Cat, Nothing Painted Blue, and many more. On the synth and industrial end of things, we go even farther, with LPs and EPs from A Certain Ratio, Happy Mondays, OMD, Art of Noise, Play Dead, Portion Control, Flying Lizards, Ministry, Section 25, Cabaret Voltaire, the Membranes, Sex Gang Children, and oodles more.

A hall of fame of early hiphop is here, including EPs from Spoonie Gee, T La Rock, Naughty By Nature, House of Pain, Mantronix, Digital Underground, Sugar Hill Gang, Queen Latifah, Paris, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B and Rakim, and several more.

Jazz rolls in from Chico Hamilton, Moondog, Buddy Rich, Miles Davis, the LA Four, Rufus Harley, and Max Roach. Plenty of classical and international cheapies are here, and we've got some more contemporary LPs from Of Montreal, Die Antwoord, Courtney Barnett, the Oh Sees, the Men, Ought, Parquet Courts, Future Islands, Father John Misty, and Cigarettes After Sex.


Strictly Discs will be the place to be this Post-Thanksgiving-Shopping-Melee-Day, also known as Black Friday.

And that's because certain indie stores across the country will be the place to get special releases created just for you, for giving and getting this holiday season, and they're scheduled for release on Black Friday, November 29, 2019.  

Now, this is not Record Store Day, Jr., but it is brought to you by the powers-that-be at Record Store Day. This is a group of special releases you can only find at certain independent record stores nationwide. The magic of these pieces (many uber-limited) is that every one of them is something someone will really LOVE to get, and you'll really ENJOY giving.  And you may have the added nice feeling of supporting a local, independently owned (Strictly Discs, Independently Owned since 1988) business during the holidays.

Our list of Black Friday exclusives can be found HERE. You've got to register for our list or you can also jump over to the RSD site which shows the list (just without our pricing). And while we will try to have ample stock (one of the deepest in the midwest) of all items, please know that some of these products are extremely limited and will sell out quickly.

If you created a wishlist  (deadline was October 16th), it will be updated within our system prior to November 29, 2019. We expect that you will be in the store on November 29th to pick up any requested items. And remember, a wish is NOT an order. Thank you!



This isn't the spot to lay down odds on the third race. OTB is where Others Talk Back and give you the lowdown on what they've been feeling lately. This one's for the customers.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds -”Ghosteen”  This album is a tribute to Conway Savage, the keyboard player in the Bad Seeds, who died in 2018 of a brain tumor  “Ghosteen” is a double album, the first that the band has released since 2003. Given the subject matter, the album is a song cycle about loss and remembrance.  Consequently, it is a quiet and sparse album, but with touches of electronics. Many of the songs are augmented by a string section, And those strings really set the mood for most of the album.  “Ghosteen” also features probably the best singing from Mr. Cave in quite a few years. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have never released a bad album in their almost four decade long career. In fact, the band has released more than a few classics.   “Ghosteen” definitely fits into the classic category. - Ted

Various Artists - “Jon Savage’s 1969-1971 - Rock Dreams on 45”  Music Journalist Jon Savage has released a series of albums focusing on specific years in the mid to late sixties.  In the series, Mr Savage tries to find the overarching mood of the time, via the music released during each year. For the first time, the series leaves the sixties, and moves into the early seventies.  The mood for that period is that music moved into a “Heavy” music phase. That definition features lots of loud electric guitars and “subversive” counterculture subject matter. It features cuts from such well known bands like Mountain, Alice Cooper, the Byrds, the James Gang, Faces, The Youngbloods,  KIng Crimson, Free, the Kinks, the Guess Who and Procol Harum. But it also features tracks from the Stooges, MC5, Velvet Underground, Amon Duul ll, Flamin’ Groovies and Tangerine Dream - bands that would influence the late seventies but were considered anomalies back in the early seventies. All in all, Mr.Savage has curated an album that superbly gives us a taste of that specific time frame. - Ted

Gene Clark - “No Other”  When “No Other” was released in the fall of 1974, it was universally panned by critics and ignored by the public.  Mr. Clark had put his heart and soul into the album, and the rejection deeply wounded him. Some say that he never recovered from the failure of the album.  It was only when the album was reissued in the nineties that a reevaluation of the album began, Many now felt it was a lost classic and perhaps the best thing that Mr. Clark ever released.  Nominally a singer-songwriters and country rock album, it is much more than those descriptions, Mr. Clark goes beyond the simple genres. It really is in a league of its own. The songs are some of the most emotive  and lyrically complex songs that Mr. Clark had written up to that point - perhaps even better than the songs he wrote for the Byrds. And the intricate playing and production help the album rise to the masterpiece stage.  The two disc version adds an album of outtakes. Some of those outtakes are a bit different than the released versions. There is also a single disc and a super deluxe edition. And in all versions the original album is lovingly remastered to bring out the best possible sound possible. - Ted

Ron, Ryan, Angie, Marty, Evan, Matt, Ben, Will, Ed, Isaac, Larry, Andy, Mark, Jack, Eric & Mike

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